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Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages

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Research Profile and Major Research Areas

The Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages is an open academic platform engaged in interdisciplinary approaches to medieval studies. Its plan of activities is structured loosely in order to facilitate effective cooperation by specialists in diverse subjects – in particular, philology (mainly Latin, English, Czech, Old Norse, German, Italian, Hebrew and Arabic), musicology, history of art, history, auxiliary historical sciences and archive studies, and archaeology. The Centreʼs activities will principally be targeted at fostering cooperation between medievalists at the Faculty of Arts both in individual and institutional terms, at increasing involvement of PhD students in, as well as increasing internalisation of, medievalist research and teaching, and at promoting general interest in medieval studies by means of special seminars and a variety of academic events organized at the Faculty of Arts and open to students as well as the public.

The Centre will thus provide all-round backing for the Facultyʼs medievalists whose research has so far been impaired by insufficient cooperation and limping organisation, so that they will benefit from being part of an organisationally compact and internationally integrated platform that will be supportive to efficient teamwork and flexibility in meeting the demands of the present-day academe, in implementing a wide range of domestic as well as international scholarly and teaching projects, and in putting to the best of use the synergy of sharing strategic information, research data as well as tasks and responsibilities of teaching (with an emphasis on PhD studies).

The Centre has launched three thematic research platforms titled “Medieval Proximities”, “Material Text” and “Misapprehension”, respectively. Aside from classic types of output (such as domestic and international projects producing monographs, articles in periodicals, exhibitions), the present programme will also focus on editions and translations of medieval works. No less importantly, a determined effort will be made to foster, both in the research and educational domain, digital humanities – a field burgeoning internationally, but as yet little developed and academically integrated in the Czech Republic. In the sphere of teaching, one of the priorities will be a PhD seminar in medieval studies.

Within the Czech Republic the project is innovative in its interdisciplinary approach – one that consists in the interlinking of those individual, broadly conceived philologies that are of relevance to studies of the medieval era – and in the introduction of digital humanities into medieval studies research and tuition, as well as in the preparation of joint international programmes. Innovatory in the worldwide context is the project’s emphasis on ‛minor languages’, which allows it to provide a considerably more balanced picture of medieval culture and renders it fully in keeping with the current global trend towards the rethinking of borders and the reenvisaging of the hitherto generally accepted concepts and categories within medieval civilization and our studies of it. This emphasis on ‛minor languages’ will also be manifested – both academically and organizationally – in the creation of a special research platform, a portal that is to make Czech-language medieval sources available to the international specialist community through annotated critical editions of their translations

into major west-European languages. The resulting publications will constitute the Czech medievalist community’s original and long-awaited contribution to the field of comparative European medieval studies research; until now, in the vast majority of cases relevant sources from the Czech lands – along with the literary and cultural historical analysis necessary to the understanding of those sources – have not been accessible to the international academic community, despite the fact that they come quite naturally within the cultural sphere of Western Christianity and that without a knowledge of them no picture of the Middle Ages in Europe can ever be complete.

Profiling Projects

In Progress:

  • HERA: “Sound Memories: The Musical Past in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Europe” (SoundMe) – in cooperation with the Universities of Cambridge, Heidelberg and Utrecht, and with the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw s (2016-2019; David Eben and Lenka Hlávková)
  • Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Programme: Strategic Partnerships – Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts – in cooperation with Queen Mary University of London, University of Siena, University of Lyon, and Klosterneuburg Library (2014–2017; Lucie Doležalová)
  • Chaucer in Bohemia – in cooperation with the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Kent in Canterbury (Jan Čermák)

In Preparation:

  •  “Living on the Rural Edge“ (Horizon 2020), in cooperation with the University of Uppsala (2017; Tomáš Klír)
  • “Middle Ages, Europeanisation, tangible and intangible cultural heritage” (Horizon 2020), in cooperation with the University of Sevilla (2018; Tomáš Klír)
  • Regensburger Dialektforum (BAYHOST), in cooperation with the University of Regensburg (Tomáš Klír)
  • “Well-Being in the Middle Ages” (Marie Curie Initial Training Networks), in cooperation with the University of Groningen (Lucie Doležalová)
  • Intensive School of Digital Editions for Medievalists, in cooperation with DiXiT II (Uni. Cologne and CNRS Lyon) (Lucie Doležalová)
  • “Chaucer in Europe”, in cooperation with the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Kent in Canterbury (2018; Jan Čermák)
  • “Masāʾil al-khilāf –The Samaritan polemical treatise against the Rabbanites” Project, in cooperation with Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers; Daniel Boušek)

Major Partner Institutions

  • Centre for Medieval Literature, Odense-York (Lars Boje Mortensen, Elizabeth Tyler)
  • Wesleyan University (Jeff Ryder)
  • Centre for Comparative Studies, Siena (Francesco Stella)
  • Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Kent in Canterbury (Peter Brown, Sarah James, Helen Gittos, Ryan Perry)
  • University of Oxford (Vincent Gillespie, Andy Orchard, Daniel Wakelin)
  • University of Cambridge (Helen Cooper, Richard Dance)
  • Centre for Quantitative Economic History, University of Cambridge (Sheilagh Ogilvie)
  • Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (Wilhelm Heizmann)
  • Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien
  • Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas (GWZO), Universität Leipzig (Matthias Hardt, Christian Zschieschang)

Major Conferences and Events

In Preparation:

Exhibitions:

  • “Eucharist Veneration in the Late Middle Ages” – Art Museum Olomouc, Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov, West Bohemian Gallery Pilsen (March 2017) (Michaela Ottová et al)
  • “Ulrich Creutz and Kadaň: A Myth” – northern Bohemian Art Gallery Litoměřice (June 2017) (Michaela Ottová et al)
  • “Madonna of Pilsen – the Ultimate Source of Soft Style” (West Bohemian Gallery Pilsen, November 2018) (Michaela Ottová et al)
  • “The Lipnice Bible” – in cooperation with The Museum of the Bible, Oklahoma (2021; Lucie Doležalová)

Conferences:

  • “Archeology and Linguistics” (2017; Tomáš Klír)
  • “International Gothic and Prague”, in cooperation with the Centre for Medieval Studies (2017; Michaela Ottová)
  • Leeds Medieval Congress: Special Thematic Strand – Memory (2018; Lucie Doležalová and Jan Čermák)
  • The European Society for Textual Scholarship (ESTS): “Author as Editor, Editor as Author” Conference (Prague, 2018; Lucie Doležalová and Jan Čermák)
  • “The Neighbourhood of the Lands of the Czech Crown under the Luxembourgs” (2018; Lenka Bobková)
  • “The Crown Lands in the History of the Czech State” (2018, 2020) (Lenka Bobková, Jan Zdichynec, Mlada Holá, Michaela Ottová, Tomáš Klír)
  • “Roma aeterna – on the reception of Classical Antiquity in medieval Bohemia” (2018–2021; Martin Bažil)
  • World Congress of the Société international d’étude sur le théâtre médiéval (in cooperation with the Kabinet pro klasická studia Filosofického ústavu AV ČR) (2022; Martin Bažil)